Story highlights

Trump became known in part last year for his use of the word 'bigly'

His nominee for the Supreme Court used it during his confirmation hearing Wednesday

Washington CNN —  

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who’s delivered a polished performance in his confirmation hearings this week, slipped up on Wednesday, accidentally uttering a campaign catch phrase that had the room roaring in laughter.

While talking about the Declaration of Independence during his third day before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gorsuch was trying to say that John Hancock signed his name “big and boldly.”

Instead, out came “bigly.”

“That’s why John Hancock is now synonymous with his signature. No one remembers who John Hancock was but they know that that’s his signature because he wrote his name so bigly – big and boldly,” he said.

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The word caught fire as Donald Trump campaigned for president last year. While Trump has said he’s actually saying “big league,” many people interpreted it as “bigly” and it has since taken off as a word used in jest.

Sitting on the Judiciary Committee’s dais, Sen. Ben Sasse didn’t miss a beat.

“You just said bigly,” the Nebraska Republican said, jumping in as the room burst into laughter.

Gorsuch, with a look of self-amusement, closed his eyes and acknowledged he said the word.

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“And I just won five bucks,” Sasse added to even more laughter.

Gorsuch spun around in his chair in search of someone in the audience.

“You embarrassed me in front of my nephew,” Gorsuch said. “And he loves it.”

“He’s the one paying me the five bucks,” Sasse said.

CNN’s David Shortell contributed to this report.